Before we get to this week's artist, we have some slots open if you would like to be interviewed for Creatively Featured. Just send me an email and we can get you all set up! Also, don't forget this month's challenge!
Our artist this week is Terri Stephens of Morning Dewdrops. Thanks so much for sharing your heart with us Terri!
Tell us a little about yourself and the premise behind your blog? Hi, thank you for featuring me today. It’s an honor and I appreciate what “Artists in Blogland” is doing for aspiring online artists. My name is Terri Stephens and I’m a mixed-media artist. I enjoy painting whimsical characters, creating fabric art and journaling. My passion is to illuminate your soul with words of encouragement. My wish is to take you to the park in October on an Indian summer day to create, daydream and play. My blog is Morning Dewdrops, a place to imagine, create & illuminate.
Tell us about blogging and how it has worked for you? Blogging is fun and I like sharing ideas with other artists. Morning Dewdrops inspires others to create and they inspire me, so we come full circle. We are all creative and when we create; no matter what it is -- architect, apple pie or art, we transport ourselves to another place free of frustrations especially when we quiet the inner critic. When we act on creativity, our mind and soul open to new ideas whether we are aware of it or not.
Blogging is a reason to create. I don’t blog as often as I like, but when I post a blog, it’s got grit. Blogging introduces me to painters, crafters, fiber artists, art journalist, homemakers, designers and writers from Australia, Austria, the Netherlands, the UK and the USA.
Blogging makes me smile. I once posted a blog about sugarcane babies. I said in the post that you knew you were near their home when the sugarcane began to turn pink. Someone from the other side of the world said she didn’t know sugarcane turned pink. I laughed. Isn’t that grand! I replied, “..only in Blogland...”
So blogging keeps me young, keeps me entertained, keeps me inspired, keeps me focused, keeps me practicing art – Funny, the more I give, the more I receive. Let’s keep our communities growing by spending time in them like in “Artists in Blogland”.
What inspires or influences you artistically? Art inspires me. Van Gogh or Monet inspires me. A quilt at a county fair inspires me. Whimsical characters inspire me. Nature inspires me. A good story inspires me. Children inspire me. My family inspires me. I gravitate toward pastels and appreciate texture. I enjoy soaking in a piece of art until it speaks to me whether artistically or emotionally. I ask, “Why am I drawn to this piece?” My background in embroidery and fabric art plays a big role as far as influencing me. I've taught sewing and embroidery lessons and I've had a needle in my hand since I was a young girl.
Which aspect of your art do you enjoy most? When I find myself stepping on discarded papers, looking for my fabric scissors not my craft scissors, when paint, glue, brushes and palettes cover two tabletops as I sit at another with the smell of melting beeswax in the air, I’m at my best. When I’m in Photoshop Elements printing on Lutradur or Transfer Artist Papers, when I’m transferring newsprint onto organza or up to my elbows in a mixture of craft glue and water layering fabric paper, I’m at my best. When I discover the ease of watercolor crayons, the creaminess of wax pencils, the forgiveness of acrylics and the magic of all mess-ups is gesso, I’m at my best. When I’m burning fabrics masked in acrylics or melting craft felt inside cocoons with my heat gun, I’m at my best. When I sit quietly hand-stitching or sewing on my machine or hear the hum of the needle felter while waiting on my modeling paste to dry, I’m at my best. When I pull out bubble wrap, bottle tops, tomato netting and one-ply tissue, I feel like a million. When I lift off the masking fluid, when I peel the foil away, when the water-soluble fabric dissolves to reveal magic, I’m enthralled.
I’m at my best when creating my passion and when my creation inspires others, I've met my purpose. And because of that I am a better being.
Can you tell us a little about your methods and/or techniques? I’m experimenting with mediums I’ve not used before and it’s exciting, so I encourage people to try out new methods in their art. Apparently, I like creative muses with pastel-colored hair! My blue muse is created with water color crayons, acrylics, spray inks & art markers. She blends into the peacock background. Whereas my pink muse is all about Prismacolor wax pencils and texture. Her hair is molded with modeling paste; her dress is embellished with glass beads and the entire surface is covered in bees wax.
Different texture and layering techniques also influence my art. One of my favorite mediums is gesso. You can put it on paper or fabric. Gesso is great for toning down bright colors or adding texture. A brown paper bag, Wonder Under and foil are the three foundation pieces used in creating “Molly Dolly.” Sewing on paper also creates more interest and depth.
I layer muslin, wrapping paper and tissue paper to create fabric paper and this is the background on which to lay my “cocoons” in a cloud of silk and wool roving. Pieces of hand-dyed scrim and yarns were also needle felted into the piece. I fell in love with machine needle felting when I got a Babylock Embellisher for my birthday. The journal cover with the key hole is one of the first pieces I completed all on a machine that uses no thread or bobbin.
What have you done this past year? I’ve learned not to be scared. If a technique inspires me, I’m going to give her a go, so I discovered I can draw. Maybe not a Rembrandt, but that’s not what I’m after. I love whimsy and I’m developing that aspect of drawing. My inner critic died somewhere along the way this past year. I post characters on Morning Dewdrops whose eyes aren’t just right or whose lips are too big, but I post them all the same. Why not I say, blogging makes me bold.
I’ve learned to listen to my spirit, to create what inspires me and I’m surprising myself. My article entitled “Does your creative muse show you kindness?” was published in the April issue of Sprout, an online magazine, and included an art journal page of a creative muse with pink hair.
My fabric art collage was published in the first issue (April 2012) of a in a print magazine entitled Featuring: Art Journaling, Mixed-Media & More. I’m featured in the Theme Gallery – Cheering, Stomping & Applauding.
Rather daring, wouldn’t you say! Blogging played a big part and it can do it for you, so keep DREAMING, THINKING AND CREATING BIG!
How do you see your future work and style developing? I see characters I’ve created coming to life. The Way-Word Girls have their own stories to tell that uplift girls between the ages of 9 to 12. Lydia, LizBeth, Abigail and Joanna are college roommates who form a club called, The Way-Word Girls. My prayer is that their stories captivate the hearts of young girls and help them not to suffer victim mentality in all its forms – depression, eating disorders, abuse, etc. I’m collaborating with a technical team to present them in story or script form to a Christian Film Festival.
I’m also writing a children’s book about “Molly Dolly.” Molly Dolly is the little doll with a heart of soul. Soulful Molly was found at the bottom of a mother’s closet and had no arms because she’s old; can you still love her? Can we get past her handicap and see her, I mean really see her? I think we can and if we can in a doll, surely we can in people.
I love to write. I just didn’t realize I’d be doing it through characters I’ve created and painted. I love to edify. I just didn’t realize I’d do it through my pen.
I started Morning Dewdrops with no agenda, but I believe it’s created a life of its own and together we’re still evolving. I encourage each of you to create, to daydream and play and if your heart’s telling you to blog, then don’t delay. --Blessings Terri